What's harder: tennis vs. baseball

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by eLterrible, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. eLterrible

    eLterrible Rookie

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    OK, so i was having a discussion with some baseball guys (yeah), and we were arguing which would be harder:

    Returning Roddick's 140+ serve

    or

    Hitting off Clemon's 100+ fast ball

    I of course argued for the return of serve, because the distance is shorter and the swinging space is so much wider (baseball players have a strike zone and barely have to move their feet)

    Their argument was that a tennis racquet is so much bigger and the court significantly slows down the ball after the bounce.

    What are your opinions on this?
     
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  2. jjames

    jjames Banned

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    well, if you aren't careful, clemens may bean you. less surface area on the bat, than a tennis racquet.
     
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  3. FalconX

    FalconX Rookie

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    I would say hitting a fast ball. I think in tennis you have a pretty good chance of getting your racquet on the ball if you decide to guess one way. Now making a decent return or a return winner, that's a different story. In baseball guessing will rarely get you anywhere.
     
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  4. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Baseball, it's not even close. Look at it this way. Only one guy(I think) Ichiro has hit .350 in the last 5 years or so. .300 isn't exactly common either. That means a guy who gets the ball in play 30% of the time is a major star. He fails 70% of the time. Imagine if a tennis player got the ball in play 30% of the time. He wouldn't be able to make a living at his sport.
    Not to mention the whole risk of death in facing Clemens, which isn't there if you are facing Roddick. It's not that hard to get out of the way of a tennis ball, compared to a baseball going right at your head.

    You can compare how often anyone gets a hit off of a Clemens fastball & how often anyone gets a 140 return off of Roddick. I imagine the numbers would clearly be Clemens favor.
     
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  5. bcaz

    bcaz Professional

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    The distance is actually 78 feet baseline to baseline, so the receiver of a big serve is usually more than 80 feet away. The pitcher's rubber is 60 feet 6 inches from home plate and the ball leaves his hand about 56 feet from the batter, so the distance is almost 50% farther in tennis. The racquet is flat, much wider, and shorter than the long, thin, round bat. It also would be harder to hit Roddick's serve on the fly than it is after it bounces. The racquet weighs 12-13 ounces and the bat weighs 31-36 ounces.
     
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  6. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    What's harder: baseball or tennis?

    I'd say a baseball is significantly harder than a tennis ball, as I'd much rather get hit in the face by a tennis ball than by a baseball. ;) LOL. :mrgreen:
     
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  7. Ken B.

    Ken B. Rookie

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    I would say hitting a baseball's harder, because getting beaned with a tennis ball is nothing compared to a baseball. Anything short of being hit in the eye with a tennis ball (ala Johansen) really wont hurt you, whereas getting hit by a baseball in most areas could damage something.

    Now, Tennis is the better sport because you have to run around a lot and be in better shape to play and is more aggressive, but in the case you described baseball would be harder.

    And I hate baseball. So saying that really hurts.
     
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  8. jamauss

    jamauss Hall of Fame

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    I've played both for a number of years and as far as difficulty goes (just returning serve vs. getting your bat on the ball when it's pitched) I would say they're about equal.

    It's true that once a tennis ball hits the court it loses quite a bit of it's original speed. I don't know the exact numbers or equation but I believe it's something like 140mph off the racquet equals roughly 100-110 after it hits the ground.

    Here's my breakdown of difficulty:

    Making contact (baseball more difficult, bat has less surface area and you have less time seeing the ball and less time to react to where it's going. Bats weigh a lot more than tennis racquets, too.) If the distance for a serve is shorter, it's not by much, maybe 5 ft or so. Mound to plate is 90 ft. Edit: Wait, sorry - 90 feet is between bases. As said above, baseline to baseline is a greater distance.

    Putting the ball where it needs to go (tennis more difficult, a tennis court is much much smaller than a baseball field and you have to be much more precise with your placement of the ball, and thus, how you make contact.)

    Tracking the ball (Baseball more difficult - you basically have 2 types of serves in tennis - flat and slice/kick. As a batter you have to be able to hit change-up, curve, slider/sinker, screwball, knuckle ball, etc.) However, the ball is only coming to one side. In tennis you might have to turn to either side (FH or BH) to make contact w/ the ball.

    All things said, I think the difficutly is about even. Most tennis players that have moderate skill in baseball can hit 80-85 mph fastballs without too much trouble - e.g. Sampras hitting batting practice with the Cinci Reds - because the hand-eye coordination and responsiveness is already built in.
     
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  9. jBayjoey

    jBayjoey New User

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    I honestly think the hardest thing to do in sports is to hit a major league baseball pitch for MANY reasons.

    1. Round bat, round ball, doesn't make sense huh?
    2. Speed (Try going from a 100mph and then immediately seeing a 72 mph)
    3. Spin (Try going from a 100mph cannonball to a 72mph curve)
    4. Timing
    5. Funky motions
    6. Outside distractions
    7. Weight of the bat
    8. Weight of the ball
     
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  10. simi

    simi Hall of Fame

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    Last year, in May, USA Today ran a series of articles titled, "The Ten Hardest Things To Do In Sports". "Hitting a baseball" came in first. "Returning a Serve" was only fifth, after "Race Car Driving", "Pole Vaulting", and "Hitting a Straight, Long Tee Shot".

    Let's put aside the argument of if Auto Racing and Golfing are "sports". Before this series of articles, I had heard that hitting a pitched ball in baseball was the most difficult thing to do in a sporting contest.

    The article is still on-line. Lots of "expert" analysis. You can find it at:

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/ten-hardest-splash.htm
     
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  11. RiosTheGenius

    RiosTheGenius Hall of Fame

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    Tennis is more difficult. the sweet-spot of a tennis racquet isn't much wider than a baseball bat. the baseball is coming pretty much at you, while you usually must run to hit the tennis ball, then, in baseball your shot is successful as long as you make contact with the ball, in tennis you must return the ball within the lines of the court. and lastly, in tennis you only have one shot at it while baseballl you can screw up twice and can still make the shot.
    Tennis is harder by quite far. IMO
     
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  12. tonysk83

    tonysk83 Semi-Pro

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    If you make contact with that ball in baseball that means nothing. Foul balls don't count as hits, ground balls normally result in being thrown out, fly balls get caught.
     
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  13. FalconX

    FalconX Rookie

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    I believe the hardest thing to do in any sport is lifting a 580 lbs weight above you head which this man is able to do. That means he can lift shaq and Roger Clemens both above his head in two motions. And he's shorter than both of them. That's without steroids.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. quest01

    quest01 Hall of Fame

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    Im not sure what it was, but a magazine or something was saying whats the hardest thing to do in a sport. The #1 ranked thing was hitting a baseball at the major league level. When someone is throwing that hard, you only have a split second to react and decide if your going to swing or not. I agree that hitting a baseball when its traveling at a MLB level is the hardest thing to do in any sport, plain and simple.
     
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  15. eLterrible

    eLterrible Rookie

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    hmmmm im starting to believe batting is much harder

    BUT

    tennis is still way more entertaining to watch for me.
     
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  16. Topspinz

    Topspinz Guest

    Having played baseball for a lot of years I appreciate the difficulty of hitting a fastball, but if the pitcher is throwing strikes you'll get a chance to put the bat on the ball every time. A tennis ball served 140+ up the tee and out of your reach and there's not much hope of contact, is there?
     
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  17. Skppr05

    Skppr05 Semi-Pro

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    dont think that was the question lol ;)
     
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  18. quest01

    quest01 Hall of Fame

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    I think it would be much easier getting a racquet on a 140+ serve then hitting a baseball going 90+. You need to have better hand eye coordination for baseball then just returning a serve.
     
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  19. Max G.

    Max G. Hall of Fame

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    The problem with making judgements about "what's harder" is that the standards of judgement are different.

    In tennis, to "successfully get back" a 140 mph serve, you not only need to get your racquet on it, you need to control it with great precision - the court is a pretty small area to hit into, compared to a baseball field.
     
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  20. jhhachamp

    jhhachamp Hall of Fame

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    I think successfully getting a hit off of Roger Clemens would be MUCH harder than returning an Andy Roddick serve in the court.
     
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  21. Kabob190

    Kabob190 Rookie

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    I had the same argument with a kid who quit tennis cuz he knew he had no chance, lol. I'd say tennis overall as a sport is way more difficult than baseball. Id still say that returning a serve is harder than hitting a fast ball(with respect to baseball players) A baseball player gets 3 chances to hit a ball, in tennis one strike=ace.
     
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  22. mj01

    mj01 New User

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    Have to go with baseball on this. One thing that hasn't been mentioned (unless I missed it) is that the speed of the baseball as it crosses the plate is significantly higher than the speed of any serve (no matter how fast) after it bounces. A baseball pitch only loses something like 5% of its velocity in the 60 feet it travels to the hitter (actually much shorter, because the pitcher releases the ball a good 3-4 feet in front of the mound). Any tennis serve loses way more than that on the bounce. So a 95 mph fastball is still going 90 mph in the area a hitter must make contact, while even a 140 mph serve is never going to be travelling that fast after it bounces.

    Neither is easy, though, and both (at the highest level) take almost superhumanly good hand/eye coordination.
     
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  23. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Yes, but in tennis you get four chances to return that serve before you lose the game. In baseball, you only get three chances and you're out! ;) LOL
     
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  24. tykrum

    tykrum Rookie

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    It's definitely baseball. Placing a ball while making solid contact in a tiny sweet spot with what is essentially a stick while the ball comes at you from 60 feet away with crazy spin and velocity is just more difficult.

    I'm pretty sure a tennis ball loses about 50% of it's speed after it bounces. I'm remembering some graphic with shot spot they did at a tournament where Andy Roddick's second serve bounced at 60 mph v. his opponents at 50 mph due to all the topspin.
     
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  25. Joe Average

    Joe Average Rookie

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    First, Roger Clemens has probably never thrown a 100+ mph hour pitch (Mark Wohlers, JR Richard, Nolan Ryan, Billy Wagner, Bob Feller, Smoky Joe Wood, sure). And, if he has, probably much less often than Andy Roddick's hit a 140 mph serve. Second, if it's a matter of you or me returning the serve or hitting the pitch, it would be a tie. Neither of us would be able to catch up with either ball. On the other hand, if you're talking about a professional returning such a serve or hitting such a pitch ... I'd say it's also a tie. If Andy Roddick hit a 140 mph serve (hardcourt or clay?) ... chances are it be an ace. And if Roger Clemens threw a 100+ mph pitch ... no one would be able to catch up with it. Although ... a 60 mph Phil Niekro knuckleball might also be pretty hard to hit.
     
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  26. JacktheDu

    JacktheDu Guest

    You know what's the hardest? Try playing tennis with a baseball bat!! Super small sweet spot!! The ultimate power stick :p
     
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  27. mj01

    mj01 New User

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    Slightly off-topic, but a guy named Marty Hogan, who was the best racquetball player in the world from the late 70's through the 80's, used to be able to beat people playing with a shoe as a racquet. He could also do it with a frying pan and a few other odd instruments.

    Federer could probably play with a baseball bat and do just fine (well, probably not, but you never know what he's capable of).
     
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  28. PM_

    PM_ Professional

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    No offense to any of us, but ball players are much better athletes.

    Take two of the fittest guys from each respective sport, say Nadal and ARod (the real one). ARod's potential as a tennis player is far greater than putting a bat in Nadal's hands.
    Simply, it takes more physical talent to play ball than to wield a racquet.

    It's like comparing sports cars to luxury sedans.
     
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  29. knasty131

    knasty131 Professional

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    i think hitting a baseball is harder in the major league level...but what i always thought was funny was how at my old high school, i could go and hang with the guys playing football, basketball, baseball and whatever else...but you got them on the court and they could hardly put the ball in the court...let alone the lines...sorry if i got alittle off topic
     
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  30. vinky

    vinky Rookie

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    I don't know about you guys, but when I'm up to bat.. I have this innate fear of getting pegged... which is something I rarely worry about in tennis. It just seems more of a dangerous task than returning serves.
     
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  31. FuZz_Da_AcE

    FuZz_Da_AcE Rookie

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    i actually think tennis is harder. i reckon if somebody does the math (cbf lol) a tennis ball will arrive to you before the baseball. therefore, you have less time to react. also, in tennis, you have to move your whole body to get to a wide/down the tee serve, whereas in baseball, you only have to adjust your arms. finally, there is less space to return the ball in the court, provided you actually do get your racquet on the ball.
     
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  32. bcaz

    bcaz Professional

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    Do the math?

    Repeat: the 90-100 mph pitch leaves the pitcher's hand about 56 feet from the plate. The tennis court is 78 feet long perpendicular to the baselines. A player receiving a big serve -- diagonally from the server -- is at least 84 feet from the ball, which bounces and loses much of its energy and velocity after the bounce. The bat weighs 31-36 oz., is round, and is about 4 inches wide at most, 30-36 inches long, and the ball comes in on the fly. The racquet is 27 inches long, weighs 12-13 oz., is flat, and about 10-11 inches wide.

    The math says hitting the baseball is much harder. How often do you see a pro tennis player swing and miss at a ball in his wheelhouse? Once or twice a year? How many times does a basebal player swing and miss a pitch in the zone? Once or twice per at-bat?
     
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  33. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    True, but the size of the strike zone is significantly smaller than the size of the service box. In tennis, a good server can hit a serve within the service box but still out of your reach no matter what you do. In baseball, a pitcher cannot throw a pitch out of your reach and still be within the strike zone. And then there's all the severe angles you can serve the ball in tennis which stretches the receiver out even more, and which you cannot do in baseball because the pitcher has to pitch from the mound and into the narrow width of the strike zone.
     
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  34. Docalex007

    Docalex007 Hall of Fame

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    Dang, Breakpoint beat me to that reply. :)

    The batter has the ability to hit the ball at all times and doesn't have to move at all. Therefore although the reaction time is a bit shorter, the probability of where the ball is going is pretty certain - in the strikezone.

    Look at the area one has to cover when returning service. Not to mention many serves come at you at 30mph faster than a baseball (but of course after the tennis ball bounces in the service box it does slow down some).

    On another note, the baseball keeps a relatively straight course of flight (some curves here and there of course with the use of spin). But in tennis we have to deal with first the flight of the ball, then the angle at which it comes off the surface, as well as the new speed. All this plus the use of heavy spin - which is much heavier than any pitcher's spin abilities. But after all that we just simply compared a tiny aspect of what both sports are actually about.

    Baseball doesn't require as much physical activity as tennis. Way more standing around in baseball (and we all thought tennis wins out on the standing around issue right? :) ). And we can safely say, besides running the bases and running after infield and outfield balls, there isn't much else to it.

    Jason Giambi:
    [​IMG]

    I'm sure he sucks at agility, speed, flexibility, stamina/endurance, and recovery. And yes, I've seen him run the bases out there - it wasn't anything fast at all.
     
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  35. FalconX

    FalconX Rookie

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    I am 100% sure though that there is not single ball player who could last past two rounds at Roland Garros, running the width of the court for the entire match in best of five sets, sliding up and down and scrambling to reach angled and drop shots. There are a lot of hitters that are bulked up in bball but they the lack endurance of a first rate tennis player. Other than Tour de France I don't think there is anything in the world of professional sports that challenges one's indurance more than the red clay in france.
     
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  36. Midlife crisis

    Midlife crisis Hall of Fame

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    Undoubtedly, getting a hit against a 100 MPH fastball is harder than returning a 140 MPH serve. By the time that 140 MPH serve has reached you five feet or so behind the baseline, it is going only about 70-75 MPH. The baseball loses about 8-9 MPH, so it's still going 91-92 MPH.

    However, the one thing that no one has mentioned is that to return that 140 MPH (initially) serve, all you have to do is to get a racquet out there and block it back. To get a hit, you have to swing a 30+ ounce bat hard and get it past five infielders, four of which are very athletic and are capable of getting anything that isn't hit hard or hit moderately but perfectly placed.

    Something similarly difficult in tennis would be to return that 140 MPH serve for a clean winner. That is probably on the same level of difficulty as getting a hit against a 100 MPH fastball.
     
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  37. PM_

    PM_ Professional

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    I'm not disputing that ball players could last an endurance test but in again, I referred to POTENTIAL. Of course ball players, other athletes of thier respective sports would have to TRAIN to play another. I haven't crunched the numbers but I'm sure the overall height of ball players is greater than the average ATP pro. Couple that with physical STRENTH and natural athletic ability and you have a potent weapon.

    It took more guts in high school to hit a homerun, charge the plate, or sprint 50 yards to reach for a TD, only to get nailed by someone than play a non-contact sport.
     
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  38. dmvprof

    dmvprof Banned

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    I could return Roddick's serve if I guessed right.

    I don't think I could ever get good wood on a Clemens Fastball, whether I guessed or not.
     
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  39. PM_

    PM_ Professional

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    Yes, exactly!
    I think most of us have never been to a batting cage before.:D

    Here's a solution. Take an athlete who's never played either before. I'm sure it will take him much longer to get wood on a pitch then a face on a serve. The other thing is that to return a 100+mph serve all he'd have to do is BLOCK it whereas a pitch you can't just bunt one out to advance base.
     
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  40. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    If it works for anything, if both were about to hit my crotch, I would prefer hanging out in the beach...

    Oh, hold on...

    ehmm...

    Yeah, totally...

    the beach... :mrgreen:
     
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  41. PM_

    PM_ Professional

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    You know what? It just donned on me that not ball players have to be able to pitch but...all T players HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO SERVE.
    So, if we're getting into which sport is more difficult to play overall, tennis def maximizes.
     
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  42. ATXtennisaddict

    ATXtennisaddict Hall of Fame

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    batting is definitely harder, u not only have to hit the ball, you gotta hit it pretty darn well. Can't just "block" it back.
     
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  43. Docalex007

    Docalex007 Hall of Fame

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    LOL, I see that just about everyone is focusing on the batting aspect of baseball. What about "the game" in general. There are 9 on a team - they spend most of the game "NOT" at the plate batting! I do agree that batting is more difficult than returning a serve....but you're constantly returning serves in tennis which requires the player to stay alert way more than baseball players.

    In tennis you have the outsmart your opponent, you have to get the ball "past" them or accurately put it "out of their reach". This requires you to constantly deal with placing a ball accurately. This takes A LOT of mental strength. Now fitness. Is there really a question here? Baseball players would have a really hard time keeping up with the pace a tennis game provides.

    Verdict: Baseball's "batting" phase is harder than tennis' "return of service" phase. But comparing the games in general - tennis requires way more concentration throughout. Which relates to its level of difficulty.

    Peace.
     
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  44. heartman

    heartman Rookie

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    HHmmmm...

    Let's see the baseball players try to hit a pitched baseball that's 5 feet out of the strike zone in front of you, or a pitch that's behind you causing you to switch your grip on the bat and make contact.

    Let's see somebody hit a pitch as they're running...

    Tennis involves a moving base, and a moving ball. In baseball, all you have to do is time your swing, and watch the ball to make contact, no?!? Don't have to move your feet or switch your grip or anything...just stand there.
     
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  45. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    I'll just keep repeating my post, since so many of you don't "get it."

    Only one guy(I think) Ichiro has hit .350 in the last 5 years or so. .300 isn't exactly common either. That means a guy who gets the ball in play 30% of the time is a major star. He fails 70% of the time. Imagine if a tennis player got the ball in play 30% of the time. He wouldn't be able to make a living at his sport.

    The best baseball players in the world can't get a hit 70% of the time. It's ridiculously hard. Pro tennis player get returns back more than 30% of the time.

    Statistically it is a fact that hitting a baseball is harder. The numbers tell the story.

    What was the original post about? Just the batting aspect. And getting a return back.
     
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  46. Shaolin

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    Whatever
     
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  47. GuyClinch

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    I agree. Top tennis players are excellent all-around athletes. A good comparison to the athleticism of a tennis player is a welterweight boxer or a pg basketball player. Those are the kinds of guys that would make excellent tennis players.

    That being said hitting a baseball is damn hard. But so is driving a golf ball - that doesn't make golfers the best athletes.

    Pete
     
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  48. Joe Average

    Joe Average Rookie

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    Tennis players: Get over your feelings of inferiority. I'm sorry the baseball players make fun of you. But I'm glad that I'll be playing tennis into my 70s and I won't be trying to throw off a mound. I won't be hitting 140 mph serves, but I'll be having fun. Believe me ... there are no discussions on baseball forums that begin ... "What's harder to do ... pitch a complete game or completing a stage of the Giro D'Italia or the Vuelta a Espana?" I mean, pole vaulting is damned difficult, it doesn't mean I have to do it to prove what a conditioned athlete I am. Disrespecting another sport won't win respect for your own.
     
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